EHR has issues, but they are not insurmountable

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The Boston Globe recently had an article about Google Health highlighting the problems with the information found in the one man's health record. Letting Google give you a window into your health record represents a huge opportunity for patients to track and control their own health information, but leaving such sensitive information on the server of a company as visible as Google could also raise a whole host of privacy issues.

Dr. John Halmaka, a brilliant doctor whom I've interviewed several times over the years for articles I've written on managing medical content, thinks these issues are real but they are not insurmountable. If you doubt me, his credentials say it all. Halmaka is an MD, MS, Chief Information Officer of Harvard Medical School, Chief Information Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Chief Executive Officer of MA-SHARE, Chairman of the New England Health Electronic Data Interchange Network (NEHEN), Chief Information Officer of the Harvard Clinical Research Institute (HCRI), and an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

He writes, in his fabulous HealthcareCIO blog, that the problems with Google are not fundamental issues (leaving aside the issue of privacy; he is an expert in medical data exchange), but adjustments that need to be made to the protocols used to transmit the records to the end user. He offers concrete approaches for dealing with the problem and there are few people out there who are likely in a better position to understand where we are and we need to go.

For more information:
- see the Boston Globe article
- Dr. Halmaka's Healthcare CIO blog post

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